Niti Aayog to give lessons on age of marriage

Representative image.

What should be the age of marriage, how long can one delay the childbirth in order to have healthy children, what are the shortcomings of having too many children for an individual and for the country as a whole are some of the key questions that Niti Aayog will try to answer to roughly a third of India's population, which is young and in the reproductive age, as the government seeks to take first steps towards population stabilisation.

According to a recent UN report, much of the overall increase in global population till 2050 is projected to occur in high fertility countries or in countries with large populations, such as Nigeria and India.

It also warned that India, in the next seven years or so, will overtake China as the world’s most populous country.

India now is home to about 1.37 billion people, while China's population is 1.42 billion. The two countries together hold close to three-fourths of the world's population.

“The effort will begin shortly to translate Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment that his administration will seek to address India's rising population problem before his government's second term comes to an end,” an official told DH.

He said that the Aayog has been asked to hasten up the job because the government feels that the benefits of its welfare spending may not reach the poor if the population growth goes unchecked.

Niti Aayog in its working paper will lay down a broad vision on population stabilisation.

It will discuss the benefits of having a small family. The government will make policies based on that and try to involve grassroots-level of administration to spread awareness at the district and village levels.

“There are informed and not-so-informed women in the reproductive age in India. Those, who fall below the poverty line, will be told how they can reap benefits of government programmes in a better way if they have smaller families,” the official said.

This is the first time in the recent history that a discussion on checking population growth is being discussed at the government level and the Centre's policy think-tank has been asked come out with a detailed plan, for which it will hold a series of discussions with experts from national and international arena and organisations working in this direction.

A huge 67% of India's population is in the 15-64 age bracket. Only half of India’s population in about 24 states have achieved the replacement level fertility of 2.1 children per women, which is the desired family size when the population stops growing, according to UN statistics.

Replacement level fertility is the total fertility rate— the average number of children born per woman— at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration.

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